I don’t normally write about my personal life on my blog, but today I wanted to break tradition to take a moment to reflect on something that happened this past week. Last Tuesday my grandfather, Andrus LaBarge passed away, he was 89. I’m in New York now in an AirBnB on Lake Katrine with my Mom after spending Sunday and Monday honoring my grandfather’s (or Poppy as we would call him) life.
After spending two days reflecting on my grandfather, I think this picture most captures his spirit, it’s a photo of him with my grandmother on their wedding day.
I think the biggest reflection I have when looking back on my grandfathers life is his dedication to his family, his wife, and his community. Poppy truly lived the life he dreamed of, he fell in love and spent 61 years with his wife, my grandmother Jackie. They had five kids (one child died as an infant), and he was dedicate to making sure they all went to college – and they did. He worked hard, helped his community, and into his 80’s still was handing out turkeys during the holidays to those who couldn’t afford to buy one themselves.
In 2014 my grandmother Jackie died of cancer. Unfortunately it was a very painful death, and for my grandfather, watching the love of his life go through so much suffering took a toll. After she died he was never the same. I can still remember talking to him years after she died, “I miss your grandmother so much,” he would say multiple times in every call I had with him.
Some people find a way to move on with life after the death of someone they love…but sometimes they don’t and life loses its meaning. This is what happened to my grandfather, and from the moment my grandmother died, he was ready to move on to be with her. He died without suffering and was ready to pass on. In a way, he really did achieve everything that most people dream of achieving, a family, true love, great friends, and a real dedication to helping people while asking for nothing in return.
I will always remember my grandfather and the values that he stood for. For years I’ve said life is short. At the same time I think, sometimes, maybe it isn’t. Maybe sometimes you set a goal and hit it and then when the core part of that world starts to slip away, life becomes long, probably too long. I know my grandfather passed away knowing that he would be remembered for the man that he was, a great father, husband, and incredible contributor to the community. He wasn’t a millionaire, he didn’t invent some new technology or write a best-selling book, but in his own way he did change the world and for those who knew him they’ll tell you – he definitely made the world a better place.
So if you happen to have a glass in front of you, or if not go grab one, and let’s raise a glass to my grandfather Andrus LaBarge. If you want to read more about my grandfather feel free to read his obituary below: